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Riding Across the Desert on a Fine Arab Charger, or: Tips for improving your most recent email to me

  1. An apology is not a CYA memo.

  2. But if CYA is all you do, you have two tone options. One is whiny, the other is humble. Do the humble. Instead of “you gave me no choice but to shoot the dog,” try “shooting the dog seemed like my only option, but now I see that was wrong.” (In this instance, the shooting and the dog are metaphors for errors that you resolved by crushing a soul instead of asking for help)

  3. Oh, but you did ask for help, didn’t you? You went across the street to the 7 Eleven, and you saw the guy servicing the Slushee machine, and you said, “Hey, what would you do if you were me?” Now, the Slushee Tech is great at his job, but asking him if Internet Native Banner 9 will still work if you update Java is about as effective as singing “Emotional Rescue” to a cat. We’ve all done it, so we know it doesn’t help. (These are all metaphors, too. Not great ones)

  4. Do not detail the massive importance and scope of your project. Remember, you shot a dog. And maybe sang to a cat. (I’m a little confused)

  5. Acknowledge that, if the only solution offered to you by a third party (the cat? I think I get it now) includes soul crushing, perhaps you want to use your own judgment. Think: is an administrator who would paint a target on a Shih Tzu really going to be the best mentor?

  6. Remember, cats get where they are by helping no one. And they don’t climb ladders to success, they just literally climb ladders for fun or to knock things down. Not sure if that’s useful info, but my point is, don’t be an ass-cat.

  7. Send your message to the right person. I ain’t her.

  8. Don’t cc the message to the six nearest suits you know. They don’t have your back. They don’t have anybody’s back. They’re just excited that we’re fighting.

  9. Don’t use my first name six times, and especially never with commas before and after, as in “So you see, Laura, you gave me no choice . . . ” I know what that bullshit is about. I do language for a living.

  10. In fact, for your own safety, don’t use my first name at all. I’m Professor Scott to you.

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